By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”THE Director, National Center for Energy and Environment (NCEE), Energy Commission for Nigeria, Dr Lawrence Ezemonye, has lamented what he described as the delay in making laws that would back all energy programmes in the country, warning that unless such laws were passed the total abolition of gas flaring in the Niger Delta will not be realistic.
Ezonmonye, who spoke at the 2009 Annual Public Lecture Forum organized by the Global Educational Initiative for Nigeria (GEIFON) in collaboration with the National Center for Energy and Environment (NCEE), regretted that the absence of the energy law was frustrating the laudable efforts of the commission which were geared towards making Nigeria a developed nation.
According to him, â€œwe are happy about the level of awareness on the crisis in the energy sector in the country. In fact, the essence of establishing the National Center for Energy and Environment here in the University of Benin (UNIBEN) is to help propagate the awareness about the need for energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy in place of fuel.
â€œNow we have a new gas utilization policy in this country that accommodates the use of associated gases for energy. But it is unfortunate that the legislation of the abolition of gas flaring in Nigeria has really not been as concrete as we expect because for some time now the abolition year has always been postponed.
But I think with the critical views now, particularly with the Copenhagen summit where Nigerian leaders were properly represented, it now rest on us to now at least start from home by curtailing the flare of gases before we start addressing the effects of the developed countriesâ€ he said.
He therefore urged the National Assembly to expedite action on energy laws in the country, saying that â€œin Nigeria today, there is a total desire to stop gas flaring in the Niger Delta as part of the amnesty benefit which is going back to the region. But more importantly the issue is legislation, if the legislation is concrete and perfected of course efforcement will be there and compliance will follow immediatelyâ€.
Also speaking in his address, the Executive Director of GEIFON, Professor Anthony Ebeigbe, advocated a two-pronged strategy for engendering a sustainable energy regime for the country, adding that â€œsince Nigeria is heavily dependent on the use of clearly evanescent fossil energy sources, the first strategy is to find solutions to the problems attendant on the use of these sources.
The Vice-Chancellor of the UNIBEN, Professor Osayuki Oshodin in his remark, stressed the need for alternative energy source besides fossil fuel, adding that the environmental effect of the use of fossil fuel is fast becoming endemic.